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The Envy Corps It Culls You

The Envy Corps - It Culls You (2011)

Location: Ames, Iowa ~ Des Moines/Omaha, USA
Members: Luke Pettipoole, Brandon Darner, Micah Natera, Scott Yoshimura
Artist: The Envy Corps
Title Of Album: It Culls You
Album release: October 3, 2011
Genre: Indie Rock
Total Time: 58:59
01. Make It Stop
02. Ms. Hospital Corners
03. Give It (All) Up
04. Command+Q
05. Palace On Stilts
06. In The Summer
07. Dipsomania
08. Everyone’s Trying To Find You
09. Med. Song
10. Exchequer
11. Fools (How I Survived You & Even Laughed)
12. Fools, Pt. II (Bow)
Website: http://theenvycorps.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theenvycorps?sk=info
The Envy Corps’ indie quasi-anthems, replete with galvanizing arrangements, congratulatory rhythms and elasticized melodies have garnered the Des Moines-based band the affection of the attentive Midwest and fans both nationally and internationally.
After the release of their major label debut, Dwell, in 2008, The Envy Corps have retreated back to the studio to record their anticipated sophomore ...album, tentatively entitled It Culls You. Luke Pettipoole (vocals, bass), Brandon Darner (guitar), Micah Natera (synthesizer, guitar) and Scott Yoshimura (drums) are redefining their sound by taking the pop melodies of their early work and marrying them with a heightened rhythmic sense and a more stripped down, concise approach to instrumentation. The new material has made appearances at recent live shows with fans embracing the bands’ exploration into a less syrupy landscape that stretches the boundaries of the conventional immediate pop song.
Pettipoole formed the band in Ames in 2002 and shepherded a rotating cast of musicians until 2005, in which time their debut, Soviet Reunion, was released on Ames’ Bi-Fi Records. The band really started to take shape once Darner and Yoshimura came aboard in mid-2005, marking a change in sound and aspiration. The EP I Will Write You Love Letters If You Tell Me To was self-released in April 2006 and afforded the band their first taste of national attention by charting well on the CMJ Top 200. Soon after, the band were asked to join The Killers' U.S tour. Labels began to take notice and in the summer of 2006, a Vertigo/Universal A&R rep flew in from London to attend a hometown show and the band landed a record deal. Work on the self-produced Dwell began in November 2006 and the album was completed in England in March 2007.
With recording coming to a close, the band found themselves living in a flat in South London, performing across Britain at every opportunity. They logged more than 200 shows in 2007 alongside bands like Editors, The Killers (again), Mute Math, Eisley, and even secured a slot at the famed Glastonbury festival. Near the end of the year, unexpected trauma threatened the band when Darner suffered a stroke on stage in London. He was rushed to the hospital and recovered quickly, even rejoining the band on the road the following week. Despite growing buzz, a two-page spread in NME, Dwell track “Story Problem's” inclusion in the film Run Fatboy Run and an ever-increasing European fanbase, Vertigo delayed the album release and the band returned to the U.S.
Dwell was finally released in April 2008 in the UK and appeared stateside in digital format in July. The album received positive reviews from critics, but momentum for the album had fizzled, and in the fall of 2008, the band, anxious to focus on their career in the U.S., parted ways with Vertigo.
The Envy Corps released the Kid Gloves EP in April 2009 on their own Tempo Club imprint. The five-song taster gained blog and radio attention throughout the Midwest and its songs were featured in HBO’s Entourage and Showtime’s Look. The quartet have spent time since the release attending to their steadily maturing Midwest fanbase and writing and recording at their home studio in Des Moines and Mike Mogis' ARC Studios in Omaha, Nebraska. Content to take the reigns of any and all aspects of their sophomore effort - recording, engineering, producing, releasing - The Envy Corps are eager to bring their new music to those willing to listen.

- Soviet Reunion (2004, Bi-Fi Records)
- Dwell (2008, Vertigo Records)
- It Culls You (2011, self-released)
- Humble Hero/Lurking In the Shadows (2002, Bi-Fi Records)
- Gregory Rumes (2003, Bi-Fi Records)
- I Will Write You Love Letters If You Tell Me To (2006, self-released)
- Story Problem (2007, Vertigo Records)
- Kid Gloves (2009, Tempo Club)
- Wires & Wool (2007, Vertigo Records)
- Rhinemaidens (2007, Vertigo Records)
- Story Problem (2008, Vertigo Records)
- Run Fatboy Run Soundtrack (2007)
Unreleased Songs:
- "Yellow Streak" (2011)

The best part about any art is when you can see someone succeed with honesty and reckless abandon.  Like, they don’t care what the world thinks and they’re just going to make the art they know they can make.  The best writers are the ones who can be completely honest with themselves and their thoughts (which is something I struggle with on occasion), the best actors are the ones who can engulf themselves fully in the character they want to portray, and the best musicians are the ones who can say this is the sound I want to make and I will make it.  The Envy Corps have clearly made something that is exactly what they wanted and how they wanted, and the result is one of the year’s best albums.
The Envy Corps’ struggle as professional musicians have been talked about a lot over the years, and I won’t rehash them all here.  But through record label machinations, health scares and just bad luck, The Envy Corps aren’t as highly recognized as a band of their talent should be.  They made beautiful indie rock/pop songs like “Story Problem”, “Sylvia” and “Rhinemaidens” that garnered them worldwide fans and spots playing with some of the most popular bands in the US and UK.  But a few unfortunate turns had them split with their label and go it on their own.  It seems that the struggles they’ve had focused outward into this brilliant piece of music called It Culls You.
This album is the Envy Corps everyone is familiar with and also a new more focused Envy Corps that is both more honest and more adventurous than anything they have done before.  The “ooh” refrain from the first track “Make It Stop” is of the same playbook they’ve had for years, but following it up with the distortion guitar heavy “Ms Hospital Corners” was a bold step to show that maybe we aren’t dealing with the same band we’re used to.  Songs like “Palace on Stilts” and the two part song “Fools” show that they understand what their sound was and have refined it.  But songs like “Med Song” and especially “Exchequer” show that there is something more than just the sugary pop rock we‘re used to.
But beyond what the It Culls You has to say as an album, there is a more subtle level to what is happening.  The songs are clearly influenced by their time in London with “Ms Hospital Comers” sounding a lot like a Muse B-Side and clear influences from UK bands like The Editors, White Lies and, of course, Radiohead throughout.  Hearing those subtle and overt influences made me think of their time as a surging London band and not a Des Moines band.  It reminded me of some of the things the band has gone through in a way that no mere lyric can do.
But then there are parts where you can see the US Top 40 influence with a simple guitar and a Brian Wilson or Fleet Foxes dreamy pop sound.  Singer Luke Pettipoole’s trademark whine does many things to help that as well.  The changes his voice makes show a bit of a sensitivity but also a strength beneath it, and Brandon Darner‘s guitar work is superlative, being both subtle and overwhelming when the situation calls for it.
This album had a lot of high expectations coming in, with it being the first LP since their Vertigo Records debut Dwell was released over three years ago.  But with a ton of honesty, a lot of focus and a little chip on their shoulder The Envy Corps have succeeded in exceeding even those high expectations.  The album is available for download right now at their website and will be available in stores in early October.
Posted by Dave Murphy in Beats for the soul |
Des Moines is NOT Boring: http://www.desmoinesisnotboring.com/wordpress/the-envy-corps-it-culls-you/

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